Friday, February 22, 2008

Rockstar Curling

It’s almost here.

Rockstar Curling, the proposed new NBC-TV show, is only a couple of months – and a sponsor or two – away from “Reality”.

Things have moved quickly since the original Toronto Star story, and its followup, broke onto the scene (editorial here, too). A few days ago, the official show website went live, and with it the call for applications which will lead to actual tryouts, located across the United States.

There’s also a weblog and, of course, a promotional video.

Press has been ramped up with an official news release and yesterday saw Toronto-based show creator Colin Campbell appear on the syndicated Canadian radio show Prime Time Sports (Thursday show available on the website).

Rockstar Curling intends to hold nationwide tryouts as early as April or May, open to participants 18 years of age and older. A panel of curling coaches will select two teams of athletes – five men and five women – who will spend six to eight months, all expenses paid, in hardcore training... up to eight hours a day, in fact.

Both teams will then participate in the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team Trials process for curling with the hopes of making the team, and “quite possibly representing their country in the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, B.C.”

All tryouts, training and competitions will be filmed for the series, which includes nine 30-minute weekly episodes, and an hour-long season finale.

We already know that Lake Placid has been approached to keep their ice going through the month of May, and they want it, so there’s one probable tryout venue. Another is Utica, also located in New York, the home state of USA Curling and NBC curling production company Carr-Hughes.

There has been tons of scribblings about this, folks. The legendary Dave Barry just can’t believe it... and we note he hasn’t written anything about curling since his legendary 1998 piece. Meanwhile, Salon’s equally-legendary King Kaufman has also weighed in, before blundering about our website, looking for this here blog.

Jake Laxen hates the idea – as potentially damaging to the sport... here’s a rather intelligent convo from some Calgary hockey fans... this guy wants it in high-definition... and this guy sounds skeptical, while this guy doesn’t.

And more. This fellow has drawn up a cute graphic, Adweek has chimed in, and this here piece leads readers along to this Tyee classic from 2006 (which we had linked to back then, of course).

Heck, ConMan asked some Alberta guys about it, and they’re even talking it up in... Poland!

“We’ve had some interest from NCAA athletes,” Campbell told Prime Time. “And those guys are serious athletes. And that’s where this whole social experiment comes in, and that’s the fascination from a TV side. It’s not a gawking, train-wreck kind of a reality show, it’s like... could these guys really do it?”

For his part, Prime Time host Bob McCown, who has been known to throw a decent stone or two himself, offered that he wasn’t “as convinced necessarily as you are that in six to eight months you can take a guy who’s never curled and turn him into a world-class curler.

“You might be able to,” McCown continued, “but you have no shot at almost any other discipline.”

Okay. Our turn.

We are The Curling News, and we claim to be “Planet Earths official voice on curling. Chances are also good that you, dear reader, probably know at least a thing or two about the sport... otherwise, you simply wouldn’t be here.

So this is where we would no doubt declare that no human who ever tries out for this show will ever, ever, ever come close to representing the United States at Vancouver 2010.

Not. Even. Close. Given the microscopic and mind-bending nuances of the sport, we are surprised McCown acknowledged he was merely less convinced.

And this is where most of you would probably agree with us.

But... guess what? We’ve decided that this Just. Doesn’t. Matter.

Curling is fun. For every high-performance athlete – representing only two or three per cent of all global curlers, by the way – there are multitiudes of recreational “Harvey Hacksmashers”, for whom any Olympic dreams are strictly fantasy. Yes, we shall all enjoy the stunned looks on contestant faces as the wannabes realize just how impossible this sport is to tame. Yes, curling is a sport, but it’s more often a great night out, an exercise, a tradition.

And a party!

So let’s get this party started, we say. Come one and all, you Americans, and try out to be the next Rockstar Curler... and, what the hey, Olympic athlete. Curling readers, exhort your non-curling friends to signup. And let’s watch the slow but steady rise of U.S. curling awareness continue to gather steam.

Heck, we can watch it together, on NBC, sometime in 2009.

We like this. And we think you will, too.

What else is going on? Lots!

• There’s no point offering our thoughts on the Scotties; the press is chock-full of coverage these days, and you can watch it yourself on TSN and CBC over the next three days. Kelly Scott is gone, Quebec and Newfoundland are somewhat surprising, Alberta and Ontario are the class of the field, and Manitoba has been given a second life (uh oh!) ...

• Oh, all right, here’s one STOH link... a farewell to a couple of Bluenose legends ...

• The U.S. nats – no TV stars are there, as yet – are in the news in Hibbing. Pete Fenson (4-5) and Todd Birr (3-6) are out of it, and it’s the two Craigs, Brown and Disher, in the Page 1/2 game. On the women’s side, three are at 4-1 (Deb McCormick, Cassie Potter and Aileen Sormunen) and Patti Lank is 3-2 ...

• DID YOU KNOW: that the fantastic story of Pugwash was first reported by Teri Lake in the January issue of The Curling News, complete with photos during construction?

• Well, it took almost a year, but the McGarry club fire has only now been deemed suspicious ...

• Not sure what’s cooler about this Buffalo, NY TV clip: the blogpost title, Captain Freedom and the Curling Squad, or to see the town of “Tonawanda” appear in a curling story ...

• Not to be outdone, here’s Captain Curling from Wausau, Wisconsin ...

• Welcome to the blogosphere, CurlingCanuck. And now that your hit count shall spike – thanks to the ye olde TCN Blog – get back to your keyboard and post some more!

• Portland’s Evergreen CC gets a promo here ...

• Guess what? You can curl in Cortina D’Ampezzo – at a summer spiel – long before the Italian resort town hosts the 2010 world men’s ...

Alex Walling, who wrote the Golden Gushue book in 2006, opines about the former teammates of one Colleen Jones, the previously mentioned Bluenosers ...

Kerry Burtnyk’s 1981 Brier-winning squad, which featured the father of his current third at lead stone, is going into the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame, along with others like Jon Mead ...

• Finally, a rare item with zero curling aspects to it; a thoughtful column by Brad Rock of the Deseret Morning News on the state of sports today.

Thank heavens for curling ...

No comments: